through a glass darkly


Over the last twenty or thirty years, much of the new architecture in the city has been designed with huge areas of glass across outside walls and this reflects back blue from the sky and the water but also, as you look through the building, you see colours or distorted colours of sky or water or an urban landscape beyond. 

The glass used varies in quality and does not reflect light in the same way from one building to another so some windows seem blank and flat, like holes in the façade, sucking in the light, while others are like tinted sun glasses, hiding everything inside but reflecting back everything outside. 

Some glass, particularly older and more irregular glass, can have really amazing qualities seeming, in comparison with modern plate glass, like comparing pewter and polished steel in metal … because the older glass has a warmth and softens and distorts images and reflections.

Certainly, the way the light is reflected by the glass means that the appearance of a building can change dramatically at different times of day, as the sun moves round, or can look very different if you approach from a different direction so you, rather then the sun, moves round.